Hiroyuki Nakajima returns to Japan after failing to sign with Yankees

1 Comment

Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima failed to reach an agreement with the Yankees after they bid $2 million for his exclusive negotiating rights, so he’s returning to his old team in Japan.

Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker notes that Nakajima has signed a one-year deal with the Seibu Lions worth around $3.6 million, adding that the shortstop “doesn’t look unhappy to be returning to the Lions and is expected to pursue an MLB deal as a free agent following the 2012 season.”

New York seemed almost surprised that their relatively low bid secured Nakajima’s negotiating rights and at no point were they said to be particularly motivated to get a contract worked out, viewing him as a utility man-caliber player who didn’t really have an obvious role on the roster.

They’ve been refunded the $2 million posting fee and next offseason Nakajima will try to follow in Hisashi Iwakuma’s footsteps by coming to the United States without having to go through the posting process.